What strikes me about those who express skepticism of 1A is that they are missing the big picture – they are critical of pieces of a strategy which as a whole can be an extremely powerful tool in helping shape the county’s future. It’s a remarkably forward-thinking approach which Chaffee County could be proud of.
We as a community need to recognize despite a vibrant economy and indicators we’re on the brink of being “discovered,” the reality is there are fundamentals in both our natural and social ecosystems that need better understanding and active management.
Our forests are dangerously out of synch and vulnerable to disastrous wildfires which would have dramatic negative effects on personal property and economic health. 1A addresses this by directing funds to federal and state agencies to help apply tested methods like controlled burns, thinning and expanded programs to create defensible space.
Our county’s undeveloped landscapes in the care of ranching and agricultural families face an uncertain future as owners struggle to maintain land and lifestyle. 1A addresses this by applying tested tools like conservation easements and other approaches that emphasize maintaining viable ranching and agriculture. All these tools recognize assistance will be rendered on a quid-pro-quo basis: value to the surrounding community in exchange for help from that community.
Increasing recreation has brought tremendous economic benefit but also brings the necessity of finding that sweet spot where impacts don’t destroy that which brought the recreation about. 1A addresses this by supporting active management of impacts and promoting education of users.
These concerns and 1A strategy didn’t come from out of the blue: some 1500 citizen participants of Envison Chaffee County concluded these intertwined elements deserved public funding support, Chaffee County Commissioners unanimously referred it, deep seated support comes from over 40 local businesses and non-profit organizations. 1A deserved the ‘YES’ it received.